You can’t cause it. You can’t change it. You can care for yourself.
Kids in Control and Teens in Control are free education and support programs created and offered by BC Schizophrenia Society. They are for children and youth (8-18 years) who have a family member with mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, etc.). These programs aim to foster resilience and increase knowledge and understanding of mental illness.
When there is a clearer understanding of mental illness, children and youth are able to express more compassion for their parent or sibling. It also gives them the necessary language to talk about mental illness, which creates opportunities for them to express their needs, access resources, and process their experiences. This all helps provide a greater sense of security and empowerment for children and youth.
The groups are run by trained facilitators with experience working with children and youth and mental health. Facilitators use a variety of activities and games to educate and support group members. They provide children and youth with opportunities to practice healthy coping strategies, gain knowledge about mental illness, and connect with peers who have similar experiences. A key goal of the group is to let the children and youth know that they are not the only ones experiencing these challenges.
Kids and Teens in Control Programs Now Offered Online
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Kids and Teens in Control programs are now virtual. These online sessions allow us to continue to offer support to children and youth, while covering the same important topics in a safe, relaxed, and fun learning environment. While we miss seeing everyone in person, moving the programming to an online format has also allowed us to offer these programs to more children and youth across the province.
Kids in Control
The Kids in Control program is for children ages 8 – 12 years old and is currently offered as a eight-week online group. Each session is approximately 1.5 hours long and happens once per week. To adapt to virtual programming, we now have smaller group sizes and invite parents and caregivers to join at the beginning and end of each session. Prior to the first session, each participant will receive a “Kids in Control Care Box” with supplies for in-session crafts and games and some surprises too!
Teens in Control
The Teens in Control program is for youth ages 13 – 18 years old and consists of a two-day online workshop. Each session is 1.5 hours long and gives youth the opportunity to connect with peers who share similar experiences and interests. Youth have the chance to relax and play games, while learning about mental illness, self-care techniques, and skills for communicating with a loved one with mental illness.
Teens in Control Drop-in Group
After taking part in the workshop, youth are invited to continue with an online monthly drop-in group for ongoing support. The drop-in sessions are also 1.5 hours long and give the youth the opportunity to stay connected with their peers.
The Kids and Teens in Control programs accept participant referrals on a continuous basis throughout the year. These referrals come from a variety of sources, including health care professionals, community agencies, counsellors, and family members and caregivers. Youth (14+) can self-refer.
For more information about these programs or to make a referral, please contact:
BC Schizophrenia Society will be launching its Kids in Control “Caring for You Video Series!”
In these unsettling times, children are faced with emotions and feelings that they are trying to figure out. And just like adults, they are having good days and bad.
When children and youth have a family member with mental illness, it’s easy to think that they are the cause behind their loved one’s illness or the moments when they are unwell. Children and youth often think that if they can change something they did, they would be able to control and change how their loved one is acting. The heart of the Kids in Control program reminds them that they did not cause the situation and they cannot change the situation. But there is one thing that is in their control – they can take care of themselves and their own feelings.
The Kids in Control “Caring for You Video Series” is designed to help children learn strategies to take care of themselves. Each video will highlight a different topic that is normally covered in a Kids in Control program and allow families to engage with each other in their own homes.
Children will learn about feelings, healthy ways to express them, and how to cope with strong feelings. They will gain a better understanding of mental illness and what it means when a loved one has a mental illness. They will also learn the skills to take care of themselves and will make crafts to remind them of the skills they’ve learned.
Does the family member need a diagnosis for the child/youth to receive services?
No. We offer services to children with or without a diagnosis of their family member. Kids and Teens in Control facilitators work collaboratively with parents and their child’s team to identify ways of understanding and meeting the child’s needs. Together, we find the appropriate group situation for the child or youth.
Who can make a referral?
Parents, school personnel, doctors, community agencies, social workers, counsellors, family caregivers and other clinicians can make a referral to Kids in Control and Teens in Control. Youth (14+) may self refer. Once a referral is made, our intake coordinator will follow-up to set up a time to complete an initial assessment with the family. We ask that if you are not the legal guardian that you have a conversation with the legal guardian prior to making the referral. Our team will ensure that all consents are in place prior to starting services.
Are parents/caregivers included initially in the program?
Yes. We encourage families to be involved in the initial information and we are here to answer any questions you may have. Parents are asked to participate for the first few minutes of our online groups to help their child feel comfortable.
Do you take referrals from all over BC?
Yes. We welcome children and youth from all over BC to attend our online groups.
Do you offer youths older than twelve?
Yes. We offer Teens in Control 2 Day workshops for ages 13-18. After completing this workshop, they are invited to attend a monthly drop-in support group offering on going education, support and connection with other youth experiencing similar situations.
Is there a cost associated with KIC/TIC services?
No. There is no fee for services, or additional program materials associated with the programs.